The Shadow (1994)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by 2takesfrakes, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. Robbiesan

    Robbiesan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    See post 7 in which I said "Another dangerous Asian taking over Western Civilization. How pathetic. At least they didn't use yellowface this time. " (underlined it for you)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portray...s_in_Hollywood"

    A lot of characters in science fiction and fantasy films are derived from yellow peril models. If you go back, and read the link I provided, there are lots of examples.

    I have no idea who Mola Ram is, nor do I wish to have a discussion about Indiana Jones.

    There is a long irritating and persistant history of demeaning and dehumanizing Asians in film. Most Asians simply stop talking about it, because it seems hopeless and a waste of time to try to explain this ad nauseum. But when someone gushes about some aspect of a film in which the same old patterns emerge, then it becomes more compeling to try one more time to explain it.

    So if one Asian has an accent, then it's fine to sterotype Asians with accents regardless if they're 4th generation (or more!) past the point of being new immigrants to America. That kind of thinking just makes me want to beat my head against a wall. Shall we have movies in which Italians continue to speak as their ancestors did way back when? The Irish? The Germans? Come on.

    Honestly, the Shadow while an important cultural figure in the 30's is relatively unknown today. That makes creating a new film about that character a real challenge.

    Heck making a Star Trek film is challenging given the last time it was on television as a new series.

    You do realize that most of the people who actually heard the Shadow on radio are elderly. How many people actually have seen a film in which that character was featured?

    And this isn't isolated to the Shadow. For example, for years directors have tried to make a HP Lovecraft film that was seriously supported by the studios. Today, his method of writing is very much a niche audience, and stained by his historical bigotry about immigrants. All of that makes it nigh impossible to get a film made.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2014
  2. Tosk

    Tosk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I only brought him up because you mentioned Indy. If you don't want to discuss something, maybe don't bring it up in the first place?

    I see Asian characters on TV and in film all the time who do not have that kind of accent.

    I do realize that. But I have no idea why you're asking me that or what relevance it has.
     
  3. Gov Kodos

    Gov Kodos Admiral Admiral

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    Sab Shimono who played Dr. Roy Tam didn't have an Asian accent. He was one of the good guys, too. Racist and Yellow Peril mongering? No, don't see it. The villain in the movie is just someone from Asia.
     
  4. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    robbiesan, I understand that this is clearly an important topic to you. However, let's please try to keep the content under control and not get too sensational or excited.
     
  5. Robbiesan

    Robbiesan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The only reason I brought up Indiana Jones is that the rationale for making that film was to do homage to an earlier time of serials and adventurers. Other than that, it has little to do with The Shadow. There were certainly bizarre asian stereotypes on the former but it's immaterial to a discussion of the Shadow.

    If films are made to please a niche audience, then to be a commercial success there has to be sufficient critical mass to pay for the film costs and make a reasonable profit. Who would that be regarding The Shadow? I'm not sure there was a market for it in 1994, and in 2014 you're really scraping the bottom of the barrel to find any living people who heard it on radio. They'd be in their late seventies and early eighties.

    I intentionally pulled several critic responses to the Shadow and demonstrated over and over that term of yellow peril. It's a well known term to any film buff and to anyone who's taken history classes as well as literature even in the undergraduate level. It's a matter of record and it's hard to say that element is not in many Hollywood productions. The evidence is overwhelming.
     
  6. Tosk

    Tosk Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Again though, what does that have to do with anything?

    No one said otherwise. It feels a little bit like you're having a one-sided argument.


    Anyway, unrelated to that...I own a Shadow agent ring and a replica of the Phurba. They're cool and I treasure them. ...The sun is shining. :)
     
  7. Robbiesan

    Robbiesan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The commercial viability of a film not having anything to do with it? Errr what??? That's how films get made. It's not like The Shadow was an art or independent film. It's strictly an action adventure film, but one without an audience. It was a very weird film to make in 1994, but probably would have been a big deal in 1974...and with zero criticism in those days.
     
  8. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    Then again, Hollywood has a track record of taking old forgotten properties and reintroducing them to new audiences. The most recent example being The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, originally made into film in 1947 with Danny Kaye. I doubt very many people who saw it back then even remembered it and even fewer recall the original short story.
     
  9. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    To be fair, that was (an attempt at) a prestige picture. So, going to a literary source that might be unfamiliar to general audiences isn't as unusual as, say, producing a blockbuster based on obscure source material.

    Which is not to say that there aren't blockbusters like that, but given the inflated budgets of tentpole releases, they're definitely few and far between. (More so today than in 1994, I'd wager).
     
  10. Robbiesan

    Robbiesan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I know! What a weird time to remake that film. And with Ben Stiller too. The last film I liked him in was Zoolander and that film mostly was annoying.

    There's lots of good films to be made from books without remaking a film. Say Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay. Practically anything by Neil Gaiman.

    What's next? The Court Jester?
    [yt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJ9f2rnjB84[/yt]


    I loved when Phlox watches this on Enterprise.

    Wouldn't Doc Savage have made more sense to make in 1994? At least people were still reading those books then.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doc_Savage
     
  11. sojourner

    sojourner Admiral Admiral

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    People have stopped reading?
     
  12. Robbiesan

    Robbiesan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    They have. Try doing an internet search and read some of the academic articles detailing this. While there are many people buying ebooks (but not buying actual physical books), many people never actually read them. There have been all kinds of statistical data on the sharp dropoff of reading as a pastime.

    I have an enormous library, and because of college and grad schools, practically ruined my eyesight from all of the reading especially thick tomes of obscure material.

    Thurber used to be required reading.
     
  13. Misfit Toy

    Misfit Toy Caped Trek Mod Admiral

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  14. Captaindemotion

    Captaindemotion Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I really don't follow the logic that because the source material may not be that familiar to audiences, there is no financial point in making a movie adaptation.

    The Mask (another 1994 outing!) and Men in Black were based on little-known comic strips but were huge hits. Iron Man wasn't that well known to the general public but has spawned three hit films, more successful than the last 2 Superman outings, even though Superman is a much more famous character.

    How many people are still reading Sherlock Holmes novels as oppose to the people who saw the RDJ movies or watch the BBC series?

    BTW Robbiesan, apparently Shane Black, director of Iron Man 3, is to make a Doc Savage film. Though little has been heard of it since the initial announcement.
     
  15. Base_Delta_Zero

    Base_Delta_Zero Commodore Commodore

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    This is one of my favorite movies. The use of telekinesis, telepathy and hypnotism were so cool. The reveal of the mentally erased building is one of my all time favorite moments in film. Penelope Ann Miller is smoking hot in this and oozes 1930s charm. It does have a few issues plotting-wise, but I can forgive a lot with a film trying so hard to make a period-accurate fantasy. Baldwin's at his best, as well. I love this film.

    Sigh...as to the yellow peril...that was a period villain. The stock evil white corporate maniac of today who wants to burn the world for PROFIT! wasn't. We did get the angry/crazy scientist (Curry) willing to burn the world because he has a small penis, though. John Lone (Chinese) essentially used his real life accent in the part of an ultranationalist Mongolian trying to restore the preeminence of the khans using a proto-atmoic bomb and his own psionic super powers. He was a psychotic, but quite debonair when he chose to be. At no point did I think he was ignorant, backward or subhuman. He was an evil asshole, cut and dry.

    Who the hell wants to see a "period" fantasy with a modern plot and villain? Yawn. I sure don't.

    ------

    And Lovecraft's attitudes evolved quite a bit over time. His later, and most famous works, aren't being made because of the enormous budgets that would be required to make the one half, and the largely introspective and psychological nature of much of the horror elements that work amazingly in print, but are very difficult to portray on screen from the other.

    Hollywood has always seen Lovecraft as a little known property on which they don't want to risk lots of money. The most recent attempt to bring Lovecraft to the big screen (At the Mountains of Madness) was torpedoed by a 200 million dollar budget for a film the director insisted remain R-rated to stay true to the source material. There is zero bigotry or racism in ATMOM. In fact, it equates the aliens with men and elicits sympathy for the initial "villains" of the piece.
     
  16. Robbiesan

    Robbiesan Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I'm actually a Lovecraft fan despite the bigotry. I think he practically hated any immigrants that came in the successive waves, much as the character Bill the Butcher does in Gangs of New York. It's one of the ways people of the day focused their resentment.

    Yes, I'd like to see At the Mountains of Madness story finally be on screen. The problem is compounded because of Prometheus (the alien prequel). Apparently Ridley Scott has something to do with the project. I think Guillermo del Toro has been trying unsuccessfully to get that project going.

    All of that is the basis for The Thing (1982). The later writers like Campbell (who it seems was influenced or even plagerized the original), then made it into films. At least Carpenter tried to repair the damage and make it fit better to Lovecraft's vision.

    I would bet most modern and postmodern horror writers would agree on an influence from Lovecraft. He writes in a manner that creates a mythos, but in purple prose.

    An example:
    "The sailor Larsen was first to spy the jagged line of witchlike cones and pinnacles ahead, and his shouts sent everyone to the windows of the great cabined plane. Despite our speed, they were very slow in gaining prominence; hence we knew that they must be infinitely far off, and visible only because of their abnormal height. Little by little, however, they rose grimly into the western sky; allowing us to distinguish various bare, bleak, blackish summits, and to catch the curious sense of fantasy which they inspired as seen in the reddish antarctic light against the provocative background of iridescent ice-dust clouds. In the whole spectacle there was a persistent, pervasive hint of stupendous secrecy and potential revelation. It was as if these stark, nightmare spires marked the pylons of a frightful gateway into forbidden spheres of dream, and complex gulfs of remote time, space, and ultra-dimensionality. I could not help feeling that they were evil things - mountains of madness whose farther slopes looked out over some accursed ultimate abyss. That seething, half-luminous cloud background held ineffable suggestions of a vague, ethereal beyondness far more than terrestrially spatial, and gave appalling reminders of the utter remoteness, separateness, desolation, and aeon-long death of this untrodden and unfathomed austral world." At the Mountains of Madness HP Lovecraft

    Such text spoken by a postmodern scientist would be campy. Spoken by a British scientish from 1920 would be iffy and might be acceptable and believable. I still love the story.

    EDIT: People who enjoyed The Shadow, or similar genre like Batman, might enjoy reading this link about Springheel Jack.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring-heeled_Jack
    [​IMG]

    I fully expect for some writer and director to bring that myth and event to the screen someday. Of course you can see the Dracula/Nosferatu origins in Bram Stoker. However the first Springheeled Jack depiction in a newspaper account was in 1837, ten years before Stoker was born.

    At least one Batman revisionist story was written with this in mind. The imagery and characters suggest that they are Jungian archetypes.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
  17. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Commodore Commodore

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    Where THE SHADOW Falls ...

    [​IMG]

    ... Earnings Rise!!!

    [​IMG]

    I so need this Pinball Game!!! And it will be mine ...
    There's simply no alternative.
     
  18. flakfrist123

    flakfrist123 Ensign Newbie

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    Cons:

    Tim Curry and Ian McKellen were given short shrift. This movie borrows too much from the radio series. I recommend the comic book adaptation. The Phantom, The Rocketeer and Darkman are better.

    Pros:

    Whenever this movie is on tv I watch it until right before the Commish comes on. The beginning evokes the pulp novels perfectly. The music and special effects are fantastic.
     
  19. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Commodore Commodore

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    I have to agree with those who've said that Tim and Ian were woefully underused. Curry, however, makes the most of his screentime and I look forward to all of his appearances, in THE SHADOW. He's a joy to watch ...
     
  20. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    Curry and McKellan were given the screen time that the characters required. I don't know what else they could have done.